I stare at the flight information display in the airport and see that dreaded word "Canceled" next to my flight number. My legs feel rubbery and a sour taste invades my digestive system. I think at least the display could say they are sorry, or something to that effect, but "Canceled" seems to have the same status on the emotionless board as "On Time."

Once again I think of Woody Allen's famous remark that 80 percent of life is showing up. In my present situation, the remaining 20 percent is the presentation that I'm carrying on my laptop computer. Now it seems that preparing the PowerPoint slides was really the easy part. The hard part is going to be getting to the appointed place at the appointed time to show those slides. Woody Allen was right--a lot of engineering, like life, is showing up.

Keep Reading ↓Show less

This article is for IEEE members only. Join IEEE to access our full archive.

Join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of Spectrum’s articles, podcasts, and special reports. Learn more →

If you're already an IEEE member, please sign in to continue reading.

Membership includes:

  • Get unlimited access to IEEE Spectrum content
  • Follow your favorite topics to create a personalized feed of IEEE Spectrum content
  • Save Spectrum articles to read later
  • Network with other technology professionals
  • Establish a professional profile
  • Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
  • Discover IEEE events and activities
  • Join and participate in discussions

Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

His pivot from defense helped a tiny tuning-fork prevent SUV rollovers and plane crashes

11 min read
Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

And he had a problem.

The Cold War had ended, crashing the U.S. defense industry. And business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. BEI needed to identify and capture new customers—and quickly.

Keep Reading ↓Show less